Being a people builder is most important: Warning, this is a rant!!!!


image credit: powerfitcamp

I need to get this fitness rant off of my chest.  I am growing weary of the arguments about the fat burningzone and calorie burning.

I am also sad in a way because I have been experiencing these arguments presented by marathoners and ultra-runners.  I keep seeing these really experienced runners tell people just starting on the weight loss journey that the fat burning zone is bogus and that higher intensity is better.  I am bummed out by this.  It does not make me sad because they are lying, for calorie burning is based on heart rate and heat exchange.  The more heart beats you get per minute the more calories you are going to burn.  They speak the truth, it is how they speak it that gets to me.

Here is what really pisses me off.  You have a really fit and experienced person talking to a person who is just starting out.  Maybe that person has to lose 100+ pounds or maybe they just want to see if they can start running.  The beginner reads about the fat burning zone, or run/walk methods and finds hope because they don’t believe “yet” that they are capable of high intensity stuff, but they finally found something that THEY FEEL they can do.  They voice their excitement regarding the capability of burning fat with exercise as a way to help them lose weight.  Then, the experienced person poops all over their idea by telling them that it’s not true and that high intensity will burn more calories thereby bringing more weight loss.  Then the beginner says in their own minds, “Oh man, what am I going to do.  I can’t run, or ride, and lift like they do.  Maybe I can’t /shouldn’t do this after all.”  That is what makes me mad.

Sure, tell your experienced cohorts that have been doing it for a year or more and have a foundation on what they are capable of, but don’t scare the crap out of a person who wants a new lease on life.  People need to ease into it sometimes.  They need to find their own way.  They NEED to start believing in themselves before they can go conquer a hardcore workout.  This is where I think that these conversations need to go.  After the beginner exclaims their hope and excitement regarding being able to finally exercise, the experience person can tell the new person, “Yeah, isn’t that cool.  Starting an activity program is so essential to health. Exercising at a lower intensity will help you stay out there longer.  It will help you really get a good habit of activity developed.  You don’t have to kill yourself to get your physical life back together and I think you are doing great by starting an exercise/running plan.  You are going to progress just fine and get to where you can do even more.”

I have come across elitist attitudes before with ultra-runners (most all of them do not have this attitude by-the-way) who have forgotten what it was like for their first run.  Now they can go miles and miles.  Well, so can I.  I can go forever it seems like compared to the 12 minutes of low intensity that I could do on a bike when I started, but not everyone can and not everyone wants to.  Some people want to run and then walk all the way to the finish line.  Some people don’t want to push their own ultimate endurance limits.  They just want a better life that is more fulfilling where they can be a part of activities that they never would be a part of prior.

Now I am not picking on runners or ultra-runners here.  I love them.  I love every-body’s efforts to improve.  It goes back to the heart of if.  Are they talking to the person and throwing out bland but true information or are they trying to help a fellow mate make a huge stride and start an exercise habit.  It’s true, higher intensity will burn more calories per hour than lower intensity.  It is true that you burn a higher percentage of fat calories per hour at lower intensity even though it is not as many calories.  Everything in it’s place and in it’s time.  I have told people to go 100% and burn burn burn, but they don’t even know what 100% is yet.  Shoot, getting to the gym at all was 100% to me.  If I was confined to having to only do high intensity exercise I never would have lost my weight because I never would have kept at it because I would have hated it or compares myself to others to much.

Am I way off base here?  It goes back to the “having heart” issue for me.  Being a people builder is far more important to me than being right all the time.  What do you guys think of this rant?  Tell me, tell me please 🙂

16 Responses to “Being a people builder is most important: Warning, this is a rant!!!!”

  1. February 16, 2009 at 6:37 am

    I agree with this completely. We all have to start where we are; and encouragement to do more (no matter how little) is what is needed.

    Unfortunately, I see this attitude all the time. Many times from people who should really know better.

    So, yeah, you’re preaching to the choir here! How do you get the message out to the ones who need to hear it?


  2. February 16, 2009 at 7:51 am

    You hit the nail on the head precisely. I have fibromyalgia. That means that over-exercising is as painful as not exercising. I started my journey not even knowing if I could do any exercise at all. If I’d been told only high intensity exercise was what would work I would maybe have given up a long time ago. I’ve had to very, very slowly work into the activity and look at me now! I can jog/run interspersed into my very brisk walk. I can walk a mile in 15 minutes. I used not to be able to walk a city block without getting out of breath. I don’t see myself ultimately being a marathoner – although who knows? – but I do see myself being that person you describe who wants a more fulfilling life doing things she couldn’t do before. Yesterday someone asked me if I liked to go hiking. A year ago the answer would have been no. Yesterday the answer was yes! I started out slowly (low intensity) and got to here so far.

    So, yes, having a heart is crucial to motivating people to get active. The attitude you describe above (without a heart, elitist) is what intimidates me to not join a sport, such as bicycling because many of us have a thought that if I can’t do it perfectly, why try? That attitude kept me from enjoying so much in life. Now I don’t care. I’m going to do it slowly and build up. They may be right- maybe I do need higher intensity – but I’ll get there eventually, in my own time.

    • 4 run4change
      February 16, 2009 at 8:10 am

      Thanks for your contribution Little Miss. You are so right on. More fulfilling life where you can actually take part in living is what matters the most. When you are fearful about your fat or your inabilities, you just say no to much. I lost 130 lbs with lower intensity. I always kept my HR in the fat burning zone. So what, I can’t run fast, but I can run nonetheless. Thanks again

  3. 5 Angela
    February 16, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Having had 3 different trainers and 2 different physicians tell me 5 different things, yes, I too am frustrated. Everyone seems to have differing opinions and it truly is enough some days to just make a person say “screw it.” But the bottom line is that a big girl like me has to use the age old “calories out > calories in.” Great rant bro.

  4. February 16, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I agree 100%. I think that is the same for all areas where there are “experts” in something. If they truly want people to agree/change/convert they need to remember where they came from and speak the beginner language and celebrate each little success. Now if only they all would read this post. 🙂

    • 8 run4change
      February 16, 2009 at 11:44 am

      HEEHEE:) There are so many experts that WordPress would probably crash if all of the “experts” visited and read this post. : Thanks

  5. February 16, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I agree! When people are first starting out, it’s important that they GET STARTED. Many people are afraid that workouts will be too hard. They think that if they’re going to exercise, they have to start running marathons or riding 50 miles right away. It’s very important to let people know that they can start off by just walking around their block if that’s where their fitness level is at the moment.

    • 10 run4change
      February 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm

      Yes. It is all relative. Some can do more than others, some don’t won’t to do more than others even if they could. HAHAHA Health and life, that’s what it is all about

  6. 11 Jen Hardwick
    February 16, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Hey there! Well, this post has finally prompted me to say something. I am a WW’er, did the program a year ago and lost 35 but NEVER exercised which is a set-up for failure. Started a groovy new job where I work graveyard in a hospital lab and totally left WW behind…gaining all but 15 back. I work with a woman who totally inspires me because she really takes care of herself, works out with a trainer, eats well but never starves (Actually she loves to eat and isn’t ashamed of it which is so bizarre to me). So I am doing well with my points and have decided to start working with a trainer because I want to start running. I don’t think I have been able to run since I was 12. I have a few minor aches and pains, femoral patellar syndrome in one knee and a terrible heel spur that manifested itself once I started my new job (On my feet for 11-12 hours a night for 7 days straight). I told the trainer I want to be able to run a mile by the 4th of July when I go with my super-awesome hubby and his family to the Frio River. I haven’t floated the river in 3 years because of the fear of hurting my knee, blah, blah, blah…and I am over it! The trainer seems to think that is very do-able. Then by Christmas maybe a 5K. Next year I would like to be able to get pregnant. I am 33 now and having worked for a infertility doctor in the past I know I am pushing it. The weight issue doesn’t help, I am sure. Don’t wanna be a 400lb pregnant lady! Thats a recipe for disaster. I really love reading your blog. It’s the first one I have really gotten into and it has inspired me to start writing in a journal, something I have never been able to commit to. It’s going well. Just wanted you to know that I appreciate your knowlege and insight. It has inspired me to look beyond what I can’t do right now. My first session with the trainer is Friday. I will let you know how it goes.
    Oh, and I love hearing about your wife! She looks like a super sweet lady.

    • 12 run4change
      February 16, 2009 at 8:36 pm

      Jen, your comment just made me feel great about life. Maybe I am wrong, but I sense such a strength in you. I am so blessed that you love to read my blog and that is humbling yet uplifting at the same time. You will do great as you move on your journey. Please do let me know about how things go with the trainer and if you ever want to ask a question that is not a comment, feel free to email me through the contact me page and I will email you back. I will email you anyway though just to let you know that I got your amazing comment. Sorry about the knee but especially the heel. Those really hurt. Very fantastic that you have a super-awesome hubby. It is wonderful to go through life with one of those. HAHAHA

      I have been trying to get my wife to do a post now and then on this blog. You know, share her perspective of being a thin woman being married to an extremist former obese man. HAHA I am going to try again. Babies are a thing for our future too. HAve a good night.

  7. February 18, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    I thought of this post as I was writng my post tonight on my blog!!! Had to come back and comment in agreement now that I can relate to it. Up until now, I wasn’t able to relate to this perspective…GRRR it gets my goat how easy and subtle the discouragement to even try can come from others and even from ourselves!

    • 14 run4change
      February 19, 2009 at 5:45 am

      It is pretty amazing that we can get so hurt and want to quit because of words that come out of someones mouth

  8. 15 Angela
    February 19, 2009 at 6:24 am

    I know that, at least for me, many times when people say hurtful things, they are merely voicing the insecurities I already had about myself. And it hurts to hear those outloud from others.

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